If the Atlanta Airport is open and flights are scheduled, ground support personnel must report for duty — regardless of the weather. If your job involves servicing of aircraft, you will battle the elements through windy conditions and frigid temperatures that could reach extreme levels. When these conditions drive down your skin temperature, it can eventually cause a significant drop in your internal body heat.
When it gets to a stage at which your body cannot warm itself, you will be vulnerable to cold stress and other life-threatening cold-related conditions. Keep in mind that dampness, even from sweat, can speed up the drop in body temperature, especially if you work in the wind.
Personal protective equipment
Your employer is responsible for your safety and health, and that responsibility includes a supply of the following PPE to prevent cold stress:
- Wear at least three layers of clothing to keep moisture away from your body.
- If you work without insulated gloves, you could lose parts of your fingers through frostbite.
- Safety boots are crucial to keeping your feet dry and warm. They must also prevent you from slipping on wet or icy surfaces.
- To prevent your body heat from escaping from your head, wear a hat, and make sure it also covers your ears.
- A face mask can serve to protect your nose and lips from extreme cold.
- Safety goggles can protect your eyes.
- Wind and waterproof jackets are essential.
- If your job involves working at heights, you must wear a safety harness.
Be careful not to choose comfort over safety. PPE can be a burden, but the consequences of cold stress can be worse.
Safe work practices
Although safety training is essential, you can expect your employer to take the following precautions:
- Allocate long, demanding jobs to several workers who can relieve each other to avoid one person spending hours in icy conditions.
- Allow frequent breaks in warm areas.
- Provide warm beverages to workers on their breaks.
- Monitor workers for signs of cold stress, and it is also a good idea to make sure you and your co-workers lookout for telltale signs in each other.
- Monitor weather predictions and evacuate workers during storms.
Winter readiness is a critical component, along with always staying in contact with all parties.
If you do fall victim to cold stress or another severe weather-related illness, you must not delay seeking medical care. Untreated cold stress can cause your death. You might find comfort in knowing that the Georgia workers’ compensation insurance program will have your back. You can even utilize the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you navigate the benefits claims process. Compensation typically includes medical expenses and lost wages with additional benefits for injuries that caused a permanent disability.